TOW: Two important default settings for Moodle Gradebook

Tip of the Week

As we approach the start of the semester, now is the time to set up your gradebook in Moodle. The Moodle Gradebook has many different options for setting up a gradebook, including the use of weighted categories or total points. You can use a Moodle assignment to collect and grade assignments within Moodle, or you can just create a gradebook item and enter in the grades by hand. It allows students to track their progress throughout the semester, and faculty can give personalized feedback to each student on assignments and scores.

We want to highlight here two default settings for the Gradebook that are set when the courses are created. The first controls the visibility of the Gradebook for the students, and the default option will be for the gradebook to be visible. If you plan on using Moodle for a course, but do not want the students to see the Gradebook, then you will need to change this setting. Go to Course Administration in the left navigation bar, and click on “Edit settings.” In the Edit Course Settings page, expand the Appearance block. To hide the Gradebook, change the drop-down from Yes to No for “Show gradebook to students” as shown in the figure below, and then click “Save and display.”


The second default Gradebook setting worth mentioning controls how course and category total grades are calculated. Many faculty prefer to have students view a running average for their class grade over the semester, rather than showing a grade based upon the total number of assignments. Moodle uses the function “Exclude Empty Grades” to give up-to-date running totals for the students’ grades. This is a category setting only, so it is relevant to category-based grading schemes where it adjusts calculations for the full course level category score and any sub-category score (i.e. Quizzes, Homework, etc.). This is not a setting controlled at the grade item level. It is important to point out that when the ‘Exclude empty grades’ option is activated, the calculations just ignore grades that have yet not been entered – if a zero is entered as a grade for any assignment or grade item, this does count towards the student’s score.

By default, the Gradebook will be set to display running averages. Use the following instructions if you want to change this setting so that grades are calculated using all the assignments. Select “Gradebook setup” in the left navigation bar of your course, and then click “Edit Settings” under the Actions column for the category (as seen for the Tutorials category in the image below). You will then see an Edit Category screen. GradebookEditSettings

ExcludeEmptyGradesIn the Grade category box, click “Show more,” click on the ‘Exclude empty grades’ box so that it is not checked, and then click on “Save changes.” This will then include every grade item in the course total and category total grade calculations.

For any questions about the Moodle gradebook, don’t hesitate to contact your Instructional Technologist.